Halloween looms before us… that ancient festival where we have fun with our fears.
I’ve never met a fearless person—at least, not in the true sense of the word. I’ve met lots of courageous people, and many cowards, too. But courage isn’t the absence of fear. Fear seems to be a universal bane coursing without mercy through the bloodstream of every human alive. I even find it in the mirror.
But this week, I’m going to share what I’m learning about conquering fear. Stay with me. Apply what you learn. If you do, your life will change.
I guarantee it.
Have you ever wondered why we have fun with our fears? Why we dress up as zombies, ride roller coasters, watch scary movies, read terrifying books, or meddle with extreme sports (or even better, watch other fools attempting it)?
Fear fascinates us.
We don’t have a great handle on our own fear, so we think that controlled, even contrived doses of fear, ingested vicariously, will somehow inoculate us against it in real life. Or water fear down. Or something. Pop culture provides a safe place, a spiritual playground of sorts, to explore our fears and insecurities.
Of course, those aren’t real fears we’re exploring. Watching Bear Grylls sleep upside-down on a cliff won’t prepare us to do the same thing.
I want you to think about something: Your own life.
I want you to reflect on how much of your own life revolves around managing, avoiding, or pushing through anxiety.
Like that important meeting on Tuesday. That hard conversation that could ruin your friendship. Sharing your faith with your neighbour. Worrying about your kids being bullied at school. Worrying about the election. Worrying about what people will think. If they’ll find out. If you’ll be able to make the cut. Pass the test. Meet expectations. Keep up your pace. Meet your quota. Preserve your reputation. Keep him happy. Avoid rejection. Look like you’ve got it all together.
You’ve tried it all (and so have I):
- Take a few deep, cleansing breaths.
- Envision a positive outcome.
- Go to your happy place.
- Remind yourself of the truth. Throw in a Bible verse or two.
- Give yourself a pep talk.
- Remind yourself of what you’ll miss if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.
- Tell yourself you’re being silly.
- Press yourself into action.
How’s that regimen working for you? Because to me, all these seem like fear management. And they don’t change the awful truth… fear is still sitting on the throne there, somewhere in the dark recesses of my heart. All I’m doing when I employ these techniques is finding sneaky ways to not obey the dark dictator.
Not cool. Not enough.
What if we could dethrone fear in our lives? Not get rid of it entirely—that’s not possible this side of heaven. But what if we could break the back of this burly beast and find a fresh freedom?
Oh, we can. And we will. See you tomorrow, then.
For now, how do you relate to this universal experience of fear?